Letter: Iraq's agony

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YOUR Iraq appeal has given me a sense of comfort that the people of Iraq are not forgotten.

I lived in Iraq for 12 years, through the Iran and Gulf Wars. On 2 August 1990, during my school holiday, I woke up to hear that Iraq had invaded Kuwait. The Iraqis I met could hardly believe what had happened or why. The events after that are like a very bad nightmare. The Iraqis have not yet woken up from it.

Sanctions were imposed, and all of us watched food and medicine becoming more and more scarce, more children becoming sick and dying, starvation becoming common. People began to aim for getting through one day at a time. Ambitions of a good education changed to ambitions of providing food and not sleeping hungry every night.

When the air-strikes arrived, slowly we could see the country collapsing. Civil buildings were bombed. Electricity, water and sewage works were bombed. Driving in the streets of Baghdad you lost count of the black cloths, with the a soldier's name printed in white, hanging over the walls of houses, a custom in Iraq when a soldier dies. The Iraqi government later announced victory on national Iraqi television, to the millions of people who were still crying over their dead loved ones.

With the destruction of the essentials of health through the bombing - electricity stations, water purification plants and so on - more and more children began to die of diseases like diarrhoea. Vaccines slowly disappearing, operations being carried out while the patient is conscious due to lack of anaes- thetic.

People in Iraq are still suffering under the regime and the sanctions, which have weakened the Iraqis and strengthened their oppressor. I pray no country will ever be like Iraq is now. That is why I welcome your campaign to raise money for the children.